“Of course you won’t see him?”
“What shall I say?”
“That I don’t remember the name, and decline to see him.”
“Won’t that increase his suspicions?”
“I can’t help it.”
Ben went below; but thought he might as well put off the interview. It was not till afternoon that Mr. Campbell met him again.
“Did you deliver my card, boy?” he asked.
“My name is Benjamin,” returned our hero, who did not fancy the manner of address.
“Very well. Did you deliver my card, Benjamin?”
“What did your cousin say?”
“That she knew no gentleman or family of your name.”
“I did not expect she would remember; but I have reasons for asking an interview.”
“You mustn’t be offended, sir; but she declines to meet a stranger.”
Mr. Campbell was baffled.
“She mistakes my motive,” he said, in a tone expressive of annoyance. “How long do you stay here?”
“I can’t say, sir,” said Ben coldly.
Mr. Campbell bit his lip and walked away. He did not fancy being foiled by a boy. It occurred to him, however, that by waiting patiently he might see the young lady at dinner. He kept watch, therefore, till he saw Ben entering the dining-room, and then, entering himself, secured a seat near-by. But the young lady, greatly to his chagrin, did not appear. Ben observed his vigilant watch, and after dinner reported to Miss Sinclair.
The young lady smiled.
“I have thought of a way to deceive him and quiet his suspicions,” she said.
Ben looked curious.
“If I remain away from the table he will feel sure that I am his ward.”
“Yes, I suppose so.”
“Listen to my plan, then. I have the New York Herald here, with half a column of advertisements of seamtresses. I will give you a list of three, and you shall engage one to be here early to-morrow morning. Select one with a figure as much like mine as possible.”
“I see you look puzzled,” said Miss Sinclair, smiling.
“I am, a little; I don’t know what good that will do.”
“Then I will explain. I shall dress the seamstress in one of my own dresses, and let her go to the table with you. Mr. Campbell will naturally suppose that she is Miss Ida Sinclair, and will be satisfied.”
“I see! That is splendid!” exclaimed Ben, entering with hearty enthusiasm into the conspiracy.
It happened, luckily, that the first seamstress on whom he called was sufficiently like Miss Sinclair in figure to justify him in engaging her. He directed her to call at the hotel at eight the next morning without fail. The poor girl was glad to make this engagement, having been without employment for two weeks previous.
When she arrived, Miss Sinclair, without confiding too much in her, made known her desire, and the girl, who had had but a scanty breakfast, was glad to embrace the opportunity of enjoying the hospitality of a first-class hotel. Miss Sinclair had really work enough to employ her during the day.